What $50,000 will get you in Belize, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua less than 90 minutes from the international airport.

Central America real estateThe key to cutting a great deal in Central America is getting hold of objective market information to determine fair value. Trouble is, in Central America investors can’t draw on industry databases like the Multiple Listing Service. There’s no equivalent to zillow or trulia and local sources of information can be prone to exaggeration and hype.

Our goal is to shed some light on the market by aggregating real estate prices from developments, comparing them against the median for the country as a whole, and putting the information online. Savvy buyers will also want to know how far a development is along with its master plan and its proximity to services. So for each development we track whether the community amenities are completed or still in planning phase and provide an estimate of driving time to the nearest town and international airport.

So what can you get for $50,000 less than 90 minutes from the international airport?

Here are 9 projects that fit the bill. We’ve based our analysis on median asking prices for property in real estate developments collected between July and September 2008.

Starting in Belize, you can pick up a home-site at Belize Reserve, an eco-community located in Cayo, around 15 minutes from San Ignacio for under $25,000. A swimming pool, hotel and restaurant are planned. You’ll find similar prices at Camino del Rio, a 63 acre development also located in Cayo, this time east of Belmopan. Sticking to Belize, both Progresso Heights a residential community in Corozal located on Progresso Lagoon which leads to Chetumal Bay going out to the Caribbean Sea and Waterside at Flowers Bank on the Belize River have lots available for under $50,000.

Moving to Nicaragua, for $20,000 you could be the owner of a green lot at Club Alegria located near Granada with views to Mombacho volcano. Close-by you’ll find Club Vistalagos peering over the eastern edge of Lake Apoyo and Villa Lagos a community located in a green setting near the port of Asese, Lake Nicaragua. At both projects you’ll find serviced home-sites for under $50,000.

In Costa Rica, around four miles west of the tourist town of Tamarindo, you’ll find Lomas de Santa Rosa and lots for sale in the low $20,000s. And, if Panama takes your fancy, then Rancho los Suenos a project located 45 minutes from Panama City and close to Espave and the beaches has lots with a median price of under $30,000.

We’ve based the above on median prices for individual real estate categories. We’ll broaden the search in future posts to include real estate projects further away from the airport.

For now, what have we missed? We’d love to have your views.

Category : Blog &Buying

5 Comments → “What $50,000 will get you in Belize, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua less than 90 minutes from the international airport.”

  1. Bret Dudl

    Mar 19, 2009

    I have crawled all over Central America looking at real estate in Nicaragua, Panama and Costa Rica. The differences between countries are quite striking, yet not at all surprising. You can expect to pay far less in Nicaragua and Panama than Costa Rica for many reasons, but mainly political instability in the first two and an American friendly environment in the last.
    Furthermore, if you want to get serious appreciation in today’s market you should consider buying near an international airport that will be built, such as the proposed airport in Sierpe, in Costa Rica’s Southern Zone. With beautiful surroundings, political stability, and international airport access, my view is that Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula is where you get the best value. In today’s global economic climate, a country like Costa Rica is one of the best places left where the U.S. Dollar goes a long way.


  2. Scotty

    Nov 19, 2009

    I just wanted to thank you very much for this illuminating article. I have already bookmarked your site, when I have more free time I am going to have to do some further reading. Well back to my dreaming of Panama or back to the books – I wonder which one is going to win out. 🙂


  3. John

    Dec 30, 2010

    It seems almost every article on this site complains about the lack of available market data (i.e. comps) when discerning value. Also, I’m not clear if the site is catering to investors, bargain hunters, or people looking for a place to live.

    If people are not looking at their purchase as an
    investment, but as a place to live, the decision buy decision comes down to preference and affordability. ROI per se is not important.

    If the purchase is an investment, then of course purchase price becomes key. But what about rents, taxes, maintenance, management? What about alternative valuation methods, besides comps, such replacement cost and discounted cash flow analysis. I don’t get the sense that this sites managers are exhausting all the methods available to discern value, if they are, they’re not publishing it.

    Comps are not the end all be all of real estate analysis. Do some surveys and figure out how much rents are. Discern intrinsic value using a method that takes financing cost into account (i.e. DCF) and use the average cost of capital to give investors an idea of potential returns across a range of scenarios. Publish some of the spreadsheets you use so investor can play with the assumptions themselves.

    If you guys want to be a serious real estate investment site, I think you should consider “upping” the analytical rigor beyond comps. I think you should make a more clear distinction between buying as an investment and buying as place to live.

    Great site otherwise. I hope you consider the criticism constructive.



  4. Nelson

    Aug 27, 2011

    I agree with John when saying: “consider upping the analytical rigor…” (what is your last name John?). I am a small investor who would like to know about land opportunities, for rural development.




  5. Andy

    May 16, 2016

    I agree with both the comments above. In my particular case I a m looking for a final retirement place. I really do not want to build, in all cases it would just take to long. I have $80,000 today and will double that when I sell this place. I want to find something suitable for under $100,000. The rest I will invest. It would be great to be able to access some website that covers that kind of market. Everything I look at wants multiple $100,000 for starters. I thought this site might be the answer but it is not, just land.


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